Food Friday- Cooking for the People I Love
Our daughter comes home for spring break. Before my kids come home from being away I always ask them what they want for their first meal. My daughter requested Moroccan meat balls. I am happy to comply with her wishes.
While I was thinking about this welcome home meal, I recalled my daughter and older son watching me make one of their favorite side dishes, caramelized onions. There is something very sweet about having your kids hanging out by your elbows impatiently waiting for a dish to be finished.
To make the onions-
Shred a 3 lb bag of onions. This is one of the moments when I think about Laurie Colwin's line about wanting to marry her food processor.
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot. Put shredded onions in the pot. They may not all fit at once. So you can add a second batch after the first has cooked down some.As onions begin to soften add a glug of booze. It really doesn't matter what you add, wine, vodka, whiskey, gin they all work well. The booze adds a bit of flavor. It also adds a bit of sugar to the onions and helped the carmelization.
Add salt. I added 1 tsp for the 3 lbs of onions. Add sugar. I added 1 tsp. add a glug of vinegar. Keep cooking while stirring occasionally. Smokey-Joe's cafe, a kosher ribs restaurant in Teaneck , N.J. serves a version of caramelized onions that is as sweet as grape jelly. You want a bit of sweetness but you don't want your tongue bathed in cane sugar.
At this point you don't have to tend the pot very carefully . Go check your email, or put the wash in the dryer, fold a bit of laundry but check the onions every once in a while. When the volume of onions has been reduced by half, you may want to lower the heat. Check to see that the onions are not burning. At this point your kids may ask if the onions are done. They are good at this point, but they are not done.
I usually have my tea kettle nearby. Drizzle in a bit of water to keep the onions from burning. If there are charred bits at the bottom of the pot, scrape them away with a metal spoon and add water until they burned stuff is incorporated into the onions. The onions are now golden. Your kids will beg for a taste. The onions are still not done, despite their aroma being intoxicating.
Hold your kids off and now you need to fuss with that pot of onions, stirring and scraping until the onions are brown. The onions, are at this point, the texture of porridge and brown. Now you can give your kids some of the onions, reminding them that we are saving the rest for dinner.
What else am I serving??? I have some turkey necks. I'm thinking about cooking them with polenta. We will have a green salad and for dessert... maybe orange segments in syrup.